Testosterone has many beneficial qualities for both men and women. It can increase muscle mass, sharpen memory and concentration, boost libido, and improve energy level. After the age of thirty, the testosterone level in a healthy male is reduced by about two percent per year. So what is the best way to increase testosterone?
Outside of modern medicine, the most documented natural ways to increase testosterone include:
- Compound weight lifting exercises like squats, dead lifts, chin ups and bench press use large muscle groups. By selecting a weight heavy enough that you can only do 3-5 reps can significantly increase testosterone levels.
- Getting enough zinc in the male diet is important since it prevents testosterone in the body from converting to estrogen.
- Sleeping 6-8 hours is key in high levels of testosterone. Studies have shows that less than 6 house of sleep can reduce testosterone by as much as 40%.
- Stress produces cortisol which reduces testosterone.
- Vitamin C is known to lower cortisol which helps to increase testosterone.
- Alcohol decreases zinc and makes it harder for the liver to break down estrogen. Males who have more estrogen in their blood, have lower testosterone levels.
- The broccoli family contain diindolylmethane (DIM) which helps the body reduce estrogen, thereby increasing testosterone.
- The more body fat, the more estrogen and less testosterone. Fat contains an enzyme called aromatase that converts testosterone into estrogen.
- Studies show that men whose diets consist of healthy fats like monounsaturated fats & Omega-3 have higher levels of testosterone. Make sure that 20-30% of your total daily calories come from healthy fats. Good sources are nuts & seeds, fatty fish like salmon & tuna, avocados, olives and vegetable oils.
Arguably one of the most popular herb that has been used for centuries by the Chinese is Tribulus Terrestris. Tribulus is not a hormone, but works by increasing luteinizing hormone (LH), which signals the testes to produce more testosterone. This is important because it can provide a non-steroidal boost in testosterone levels. Tribulus is known to increases sex drive, increases estrogen and testosterone by 10% to 30% without side effects, and dramatically speeds muscle and energy recovery in athletes. In women, it relieves up to 99% of menopausal symptoms with relief from hot flashes. It has also been shown to reduce cholesterol and high blood pressure in clinical trials.
There have been no reports of adverse effects in humans who have used Tribulus. However, nursing or pregnant women should avoid this product, as should children, since it has the potential to significantly alter hormonal chemistry. Men should consult their doctor if they have enlarged prostates before taking the herb.
Another herb that is clinically proven to increase testosterone in both men and women is Eurycoma longifolia, commonly known as Tongkat Ali or Longjack. British Journal of Sports Medicine reported that in a double-blind placebo controlled trial, the use of Tongkat Ali extract caused a 5 % increase in lean body mass in the treatment group whereas, there were no significant changes in the placebo group. Another major benefit of Tongkat Ali is that Taiwanese scientist have isolated 10 biochemical compounds from the roots of this herb which kill cancer cells.
Mucuna pruriens, or velvet bean has been gaining popularity over the last few years in the sports nutrition industry. Mucuna is proven to increase testosterone and stimulate growth hormone, thereby increasing muscle mass. Some companies have launched products using mucuna beans which are standardized to its L-dopa content. It is being marketed in weight loss, libido, brain/memory, anti-aging, and body builder formulas. One should be aware however, that altering the levels of brain chemicals like dopamine and serotonin also affect many other hormones, enzymes, and other chemicals which keep the body in balance. This herb should be taken in moderation.
Muira puama is an herb that has gained some attention as a libido booster. Some clinical reports note that the libido and energy enhancing effects of muira puama is actually favorable to another popular herb called Yohimbe. It is possible that Muira puama induces these positive changes by altering the hormone balance in aging men which increases free testosterone and/or suppresses excess estrogen.
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